Please note, this is a legacy post, instructions below will not work for later model iPods and iPhones. Post remains for historical value only.
About time we had a mod post, yes?
Our son is headed down to the Mexican backcountry for two weeks on a school trip. You know kids and their iPods — gotta have it.
But what do you do when the iPod battery dies and you’re away from walls and electricity — or you’re on a Mexican bus for ever? Sure, you can bring an expensive auxiliary battery pack, but how about hacking an expedition battery pack together for less money, one that probably has more juice than commercial offerings and connects to the Ipod with standard “firewire” connectors?
|Completed iPod expedition power supply fits two 6 volt lantern batteries in a case made from a Nesquik container, and connects with firewire to charge Ipod.|
What we did was wire two 6 volt “lantern” batteries in series and connect a female connector to the batteries. The connector is on a pigtail that connects to the batteries with a cheap 2-wire trailer connector, since the batteries are disposable but we want to re-use the pigtail. We only used the power leads of the connector. Turns out the iPod will charge with anywhere from about 8 to 30 volts, and will not charge with a 6 volt source, so using two 6 volt batteries in series yields 12 volts — perfect. (Note that later model iPod and iPhone devices charge from USB power, which is around 5 volts.)
|Batteries wired in series, ready to insert in case. This amount of juice would probably run an iPod for a month.|
The tricky part was making a pigtail with a female 6 pin firewire connector (the type of connector used on early iPods. We salvaged a firewire connector from a device we had laying around. Soldering leads to the connector was tough. A better way would be to simply buy a firewire extension cable, chop, and wire the correct wires to your battery setup (see resource links below).
I’d recommend using a volt/ohm meter every step of the way with this project, to check both voltage and polarity (positive/negative), and also to figure out which wires connect to pins in the extension cable.
|For some unknown reason the workshop ended up on our kitchen counter instead of in the garage. Perhaps so we had nearby hot water for our Nesquik cocoa? The bigger the mess the better the project, correct?|
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.